Spending For Nothing
America’s spending on education is the highest on the planet. Spending roughly eleven thousand dollars per year, per student, Americas education system is considered “average” by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD.) The OECD, which holds the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) every three years, evaluates the knowledge and skills of 15 year olds from 70 different countries around the world. On a scale of 0-1000, the United States’ scores were considered average with scores of 487, 500 and 502 in math, reading and science, respectively. Our scores can be compared to those of Poland, who spends less than half of what America spends per student.
America’s spending of roughly eight hundred billion dollars per year shows that more money does not relate to better education. Japan and South Korea have the highest scores on the PISA. Both countries spend significantly less on education with Japan spending roughly one hundred sixty billion per year, eight thousand per student, and South Korea spending roughly sixty-one billion per year, and seven thousand per student. Japan has succeeded in motivating their students to learn and teach them effective study habits as well as keeping students motivation high. Their teachers are considered competent, committed and well-respected. Japans cultural focus on education can be one of the main reasons their scores are high, compared to the US.
A lot of the funding given to schools is from property taxes. If a school exists in a low-income, impoverished neighborhood, the school will be given less funding. Eleven thousand dollars is only the national average for education per student. Wyoming, spending roughly eighteen thousand dollars per student, is ranked twenty-ninth in test scores among the fifty states. Utah, spending about seven thousand dollars per student, the lowest spending among the fifty states, is ranked twenty-seventh. New Jersey, spending roughly fifteen thousand per student, is ranked second among the fifty states. All three states are spending different amounts of money, yet there is no pattern present that determines that a higher cost of education means better grades. Why spend so much money on education if it’s not helping our students?
Our money is not put where it should be either. Most of the money given out by the government goes to schools with high-test scores. This is because of the No Child Left Behind act (NCLB.) which grants money to schools whose standardized test scores are high. This system encourages competition between schools, but gives an advantage to those who have the money to educate. While we do spend an obscene amount of money on education in comparison to other countries, we don’t spend the money where it needs to go. We need to provide money and resources to students who need the money to further their education. Not only that, but our country has shown a pattern of only getting rid of underperforming teachers, vs. other countries who focus on finding better teachers to educate students to the best of their ability. A possible route to better education would be to spend money on educating the teachers themselves. Better educated teachers, means better teaching.
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